Being of Italian heritage, I think it’s almost impossible for me not to enjoy food.  Wait, I have to add to that previous statement; it’s almost impossible for to not enjoy food with carbohydrates.  Mmmm, carbohydrates, oh-so-good to look at and smell, but oh-so-bad on the hips.  Growing up, my dad owned a pizza shop.  The typical items on his menu were an assortment of pizza, subs, chicken and pasta.  On the nights where my mom didn’t feel like cooking, dad would just whip up a carb-filled medley from the pizza shop for dinner.  He would come home with dinner and immediately the kitchen smelled of marinara sauce, garlic, and spicy hot wings. We did this ritual at least twice a week.  Other times, if we did eat a home cooked meal, there was always plenty of food.  Pasta was a popular item at the table, along with garlic bread and vegetables.  When I was younger, I didn’t think about what I was eating because my metabolism was still alive and kicking.  As I grew older, I had to pay more attention to that.

Two and a half years ago, I weighed 150 pounds.  While I didn’t describe myself as fat, I was definitely thick. Haha, thick.  What a funny word to describe someone’s body.  One day doing a little self-criticizing in front of the mirror, I pinched my sides.  I thought to myself, Camille, these are all those times going for fast food at 3:00 am, potato chips, and too much pasta.  I remembered, that when I first moved out on to my own, an item that was always in my grocery cart was pasta; because it was so easy; boil the water, drop the noodles in, add sauce and voila you’ve got a meal.  But all those years of me consuming a predominantly carbohydrate diet showed.  On my hips.

So, decided to do some dietary housecleaning.  With my mom being my extra motivator next to myself, I embarked on a brand new edible adventure.  I cut back on the carbs, but enriched my consumption of vegetables, poultry, beef and whole grains.  Otherwise known as a low-carb diet.  The first two weeks were hell. Since your body synthesizes carbs as energy, when you don’t supply it with carbs it goes through a sort of carbohydrate withdrawl.  It’s common to have mood swings and tiredness during this stage of the game. Your body screams for the carbs, but there is none.  This forces it to go for other energy reserves, like your adipose (fat) cells.  This is why people lose weight effectively on a low-carb diet.  In the weeks that passed, I began to notice how much better I felt.  Eating salads and vegetables just about everyday in addition to a chicken breast or steak, I didn’t feel bloated like I had often felt after I just swallowed a whole bowl of linguine.

I ended up dropping 3 dress sizes and losing 20 pounds.  The result was a leaner, happier Camille.  I didn’t get skeletal, I got toned up.  I had no complaints.  Instead of wearing a size 10 pant, I was now able to squeeze my butt into a size 5.  It was great.  I’ve been able to stick to that diet for years now, watching what I put into my mouth.  My refrigerator is always stocked with a variety of vegetables, salad, steak, chicken and pork, water and fat free milk.  About once a week I’ll allow myself some kind of a carbohydrate, like pasta.  But now I buy the whole wheat kind.  Yes it’s browner, heartier and may not smell pleasant when cooking, but it’s higher in fiber, folic acid and other nutrients which translates to better for you.

Below are some of my favorite things to whip up in the kitchen…

Mixed vegetables seasoned with garlic salt, pepper and olive oil

Chicken with tomato, squash, parsley, pepper, garlic & olive oil

Pasta with olive oil, tomato, oregano, pepper and garlic